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Old 11-06-2006, 02:49 PM   #11
Robb Wolf
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Good interesting topic. We use Jack-knife push-ups on rings pretty frequently. Looks a hell of a lot like a triceps extension although there is a potent core involvement. I know without a doubt it improves everything from muscle ups to handstand push-ups. The Westside PL'er, as Steve points out, swear by big volume triceps extensions. There are also loads of PL'ers who do nothing but the 3 lifts. We have people at the top of the game using fairly different approaches, that's pretty interesting to me. I'm not sure what conclusions to draw but it's interesting.

I think I saw something form Kelly Baggett:
http://www.higher-faster-sports.com/articles.html

that said something to the effect "one has a limited growth/developmental potential using isolation movements. The addition of full body movements produces a greater neuroendocrine response which can actually create a more anabolic environment for the isolation movements to produce further progress..." I think that was from an article on that site...if I flubbed that, my apologies.

I think for basic time efficiency isolation movements to not hold up well in a training/coaching situation. As much as I like Jackknife pushups I can get so much more work done with dips, ring dips and the like. Jackknifes do make a nice finisher however...

Personally I would not approach isolation movements as a complete no-mans land but its rare that I find much need for them.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:32 PM   #12
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This really does need to be a case-by-case basis decision. I would say isolation movements will invarably offer a lower return on investment than their compound counterparts, but there will always be circumstances in which isolation movements are helpful and even necessary. I think neck training is the best example--technically moving the c-spine is a multi-joint exercise, of course, but not in the traditional sense. But for fighters, footballers, etc, neck training is a must in my opinion, and whether it's bridging, band work, or neck harness work, it's essentially isolation work.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:05 AM   #13
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True that. And to address Craig's question, I don't know if there is definitive research on whether the addition of isolation movements is beneficial or detrimental to elite performance. Coming back to the PL'ing story the WSBB guys use a load of single joint assistance work...and loads of variety. These guys have a modicum of curls and flys and not much variety:
http://www.butenko.org/workout.htm.

This brings up another topic I find interesting which is specificity vs. variety. Steve mentioned a nice distinction between the conjugate method and block method based essentially on training age. If anyone is game for hashing out that topic in another thread lets get to it!
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:33 PM   #14
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Two of the only situations in which we use isolation exercises here at Hacasa are:

A. Achieving structural balance - correcting any deficiencies in problem areas and working towards a more complete system and increasing performance through balance.
B. Prehab work - which is kind of related to my first point, but sometimes goes even further than just correcting deficiencies.(A good prehab protocol should take the problem area above and beyond the current systemtic requirements - and create a safety 'buffer zone' for future efforts)

Besides that, all you have left to do is work functionaly and blast away, no need to do any other isolation work, and it can even be dangerous. Be carefull with playing the role of 'I know whats good for me'. You can direct your body in a general way towards the adaptation you are after, but if you start to work every small area by itself you end up creating a 'quilt effect' - your body is a system working in integration, and not in isolation.
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Old 11-09-2006, 11:57 AM   #15
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Hey Everybody!

Ido is one of the most knowledgable people I've ever met in the realms of S&C, paleo nutrition and high end performance. Ask him questions!
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ido Portal View Post
A. Achieving structural balance - correcting any deficiencies in problem areas and working towards a more complete system and increasing performance through balance.
This again leads back to the original question: does this really work? In my experience, anytime I send someone off to Physical Therapy to "correct any muscular deficiencies" they only see improvements when not using the muscle(s) in question. As soon as they return to regular activity, the problem returns. Correcting deficiencies through isolation work seems to defy the notion that our body is a system working in integration, not isolation. Can't you prehab/correct deficiencies with well executed compound functional movements?
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:23 PM   #17
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I've seen different results.

A training partner had a case of gluteal amnesia. Doing glute activation work to get the glutes to fire, and physical cues during squats and cleans fixed it for him.

And in case you were wondering, the physical cue was me poking his ass with a stick in the bottom of the movement.
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Old 11-09-2006, 06:27 PM   #18
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Good question, Craig.

Structural balance is used more in making sure your system is structured optimaly for your efforts, and it is one stage above an imbalance that created an injury. For example your rotator cuff should be a certain percentage of your close grip BP in order to advance optimaly in your efforts to increase your bench. If you dont reach that certain percentage, it doesnt mean you will automaticly injure yourself, most times, the body will protect itself by not letting you bench more weight.
Now when an imbalance is more drastic, it can cause an injury. Then i wouldnt go directly the structural balance root, but would try to bring the system up to par together, while supplementing the compund work with special isolation movements according to your needs of the athlete. For example, I would rehab a torn ACL with some sled work and advance into squating, while maybe using some isolation movements for the hamstrings because of the problematic requiretment patterns of the hams after ACL tears. After I'll bring the athlete back to normal strength levels and ROM and I would want to take him further I would go the structural balance root. Structural balance is a way to tinker with your system and make it better - similar to those happy souls that geneticly have the right balance between various muscles and due to this fact just keep on advancing using compund movments only. If you are satisfied with your gains, no prob. But if you feel they are less than optimal, try the structural balance test, correct deficiencies and fly away. It is my experience from the last 6 years that SB works big time.
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:24 PM   #19
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Frankly if it were not for my set of ironmind grippers my left hand which statistically should be stronger than my more coordinated right would be relagated to the mediocre 40lbs of gripping strength it had 3 years ago.

When I was 2 years old I tripped and caught myself on the glass window of a screaming hot woodstove giving me third degree burns. The doctors assumed I would never have the use of my hand because of the nerve damage. They now figure it at about 60% damage.

So what's my point? Isolation movements were necessary for me to improve the gripping capacity of my left hand. I was not contented by the fact that when I first joined the military I had to tighlty wrap my rifle sling around my hand in order to shoot my rifle. I was barely able to deadlift anything without straps and my grip would fail immediately when pull-ups were attempted.

The works of John Brookfield put the concept that when necessary, isolation has its place, sometimes I even forget that. Hell my hand still gets MEAN shakes when I'm stressed. (or maybe I have parkinsons, lets not think about that)

I think Ido's point of structural balance is a valid one that I've got to look into more thoroughly.
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:17 AM   #20
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"structural balance test"

Is it the one on T-Nation? - Achieving Structural Balance
By Charles Poliquin
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